Lions have their work cut out in the second half

Posted by ttwentyman on December 16, 2012 – 7:00 pm

This addition of half-time adjustments is pretty easy. The Lions gave the Cardinals three second-quarter touchdowns on a muffed punt and two interceptions. The first two turnovers set the Cardinals up inside the Lions’ 10-yard line and led to two Beanie Wells touchdown runs. The second interception was returned 53 yards for a score by Rashad Johnson with just 30 seconds left in the half to give them a 21-7 lead.

The Cardinals have scored three touchdowns with just eight yards of offense on the scoring drives. They have a total of 111 yards in the first half.

The Lions trail 21-7 because of two costly turnovers and their inability to move the ball effectively on an underrated Cardinals defense.

It might be an understatement to say the Lions have some work to do in the second half.

Here are three places to start:

HANG ONTO FOOTBALL

Why don’t we just go ahead and state the obvious first and get it out of the way. The Cardinals are a bad offensive team and the 7-0 lead the Lions had early in the second quarter might have been enough to win if not for the turnovers.

Simple fundamentals. Throw and catch.

PROTECT STAFFORD

The Cardinals’ pass defense has held opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of 71.9 this season, the second-best mark in the NFL behind Chicago (67.9). Part of the reason is because they are very good at getting to the quarterback, and though they don’t have any sacks today, they’ve beaten up Stafford, who’s taken some of the biggest shots I’ve seen him take all year.

The Lions have to be better than that. Stafford is feeling the pressure and it’s affecting his play. He’s 9-of-22 passing for 85 yards with two interceptions. That’s good for a 14.4 rating.

LIMIT THE PENALTIES

The Lions aren’t handling the pre-snap movement by the Cardinals defense. The Lions have already been hit with three false starts penalties. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus has two of them and a holding call. The Lions have been penalized five times for 35 yards in all.

Lions stop hurting themselves and they’ll be okay.


Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 14 Comments »

Pettigrew and Fairley out; Delmas will start

Posted by ttwentyman on December 16, 2012 – 3:38 pm

The Lions will be without starters Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) and Nick Fairley (Shoulder) today vs. Arizona.

Neither practiced all this week after leaving last week’s game in Green Bay with the injuries.

Tony Scheffler and Will Heller will pick up the slack in two tight end sets for Pettigrew.

The team will start Sammie Hill in place of Fairley. Andre Fluellen, who signed with the team earlier this week, is active and will be in the defensive tackle rotation.

Louis Delmas is active and will start at safety. Delmas has missed eight games with a left knee injury and has left two other games.

“What we try to do when he’s been out there … he wasn’t able to go last week, but the weeks before that … I think it was the Houston game that he went and played every snap and then had to come out I think midway through the fourth quarter,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said this week when asked how the Lions might use Delmas the rest of the year.

“So we changed it around a little bit and tried to spot him. He still played three quarters or 80 percent of our snaps but just tried to limit him a little bit early and try to keep his availability throughout the game. It’s really not necessarily a pitch count as much as it is just trying to conserve his reps. There’s not a specific number in there, but if we can keep him particularly for the fourth quarter, then that’s beneficial for us.”

Joining Pettigrew and Fairley on the inactive list are: tackles Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard, quarterback Kellen Moore, defensive end Ronnell Lewis and safety Ricardo Silva.

Kris Durham will make his second consecutive start at receiver and Don Carey will start opposite Delmas at strong safety.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 2 Comments »